First of all, we need to decide if we are up for some craziness or if we just want to continue with the calm and relax of the pilgrimage. If you choose the first keep reading and if on the contrary you wanna skip and continue jump to this section.
When the “chupinazo” rocket is fired, the city transforms into an explosion of life. Thousands of people from around the world flood the streets of this city, which is awash with white and red. Over these days the streets are filled with fraternity, happiness and a buzzing atmosphere, marked by the rhythm of the charanga brass bands and the peña social clubs. The bull run is the only moment of the day in which the festivities are paused and tension invades the route minutes before the bulls set off on their race on the heels of the runners. The fiesta continues with the “caldico” consommé, the hot chocolate with churros, the procession, the giants and big heads, the aperitif, the bull fight, and the fireworks that announce the arrival of the buzzing night-life.
The origin of the San Fermin festivities dates back to the Middle Ages, with mainly religious acts performed in the honour of the first bishop of Pamplona. Over time, the festivities evolved into a more recreational atmosphere, with musical events, tournaments, theatre acts and bullfighting. Later other acts were added to the event, such as the running of the bulls, fireworks, dances and the chupinazo rocket launched to hail the start of the fiestas.
Since the 18th century, there have been accounts of foreigners attending the festivities, but it was with the publishing of the world-renowned novel “Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises”, written by Ernest Hemingway in 1926, that the spirit of the San Fermin Fiestas reached readers all around the world. From this moment on, many people began to come to Pamplona, influenced by the stories told by the North American Nobel Prize winner, and thus the San Fermin festivities were transformed into fiestas with international acclaim.
What to do
There are many typical things to do in Pamplona these days. From the well known “corrida de toros” to the “encierro”. But there are many other little things that will captivate you and are worth doing.
- Dance with the Gigantes
- Try churros from La Mañueta
- Wait for las peñas at the end of the corrida
- Watch the fireworks
- Go to a concert
- Visit the fair
- Buy a pañuelico and a faja
- Join the peñas walking trough the old town
- Enjoy the food and the drinks
- Have fun!
For a day by day agenda visit this website and you will find all the information you need.
There is a lot of news about what happened in Pamplona during these days. Truly as any city that goes from 200.000 to close to a million people, there are things that happen. But Pamplona is probably one of the safest places to enjoy the party or just to walk through. You just need to follow basic precautions.
- Keep your wallet all the time with you, if possible under your t-shirt or with a special travelling wallet.
- Try to avoid drunk people. There will be many.
- During the weekends there will be a lot of people in the old town if you are just crossing by try a different route.
- If you need information there is locals with orange best called “naranjitos” that will give you all the information needed.
- The municipal albergue will be closed and some of the other albergues allow “non-pilgrim”. And they will be booked in advance.
Where to sleep if you wanna avoid the craziness
In my opinion, if you wanna avoid the craziness the two options will be to stay prior to Pamplona or just after.
At the entrance of Pamplona there is a village called Trinidad de Arre that has an amazing albergue right when you crosse and old bridge. Is run by a local family and it belongs to the Dioceses of Pamplona.
Right after Pamplona we have the town of Zizur. There are two albergues.